Nowadays, offering and performing cosmetic or elective aesthetic plastic surgery on teenagers is not taboo. Everywhere you look there is an increase in plastic surgery advertising and promotion. Plastic surgery advertising may not specifically target teens, but plastic surgery advertising is there, and there is a “trickle down” effect on a teenager’s mindset. Also, with the advent of the Internet, social media, vlogging, and especially “taking a selfie,” today’s youth is much more preoccupied with their appearance than previous generations. Indeed, it must be very hard to grow in today’s world of the “selfies” and be judged by how many Instagram and Twitter followers you have. Also, with the ease of access to plastic surgery, dropping costs, and increased safety, many teenagers are flocking to plastic surgery clinics.
Today, many young celebrities undergo plastic surgery. These stars influence today’s youth by making elective cosmetic plastic more “socially acceptable.” Just look at the teen Korean pop group, Six Bomb, whose four female singers all publicly underwent face and breast procedures to celebrate plastic surgery. These plastic surgery procedures were performed in part, to promote their “Becoming Prettier” music videos. Even Kylie Jenner, of Keeping up with the Kardashians, admitted that she did undergo lip augmentation at age 17.
In the USA, the number of teenagers undergoing face and body altering procedures has increased significantly over the past few years. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 63,623 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on patients aged 13-19 in 2013. The reasons teenagers seek plastic surgery is varied. Many young adults seek cosmetic surgery to improve their appearance and increase their self-esteem. Overall, according to the ASPS, teens plastic surgery to “fit in,” whereas adults seek plastic surgery to “stand out.”
According to the ASPS, teenagers most commonly ask the following plastic surgery procedures:
- Nose surgery (rhinoplasty)
- Ear surgery (otoplasty)
- Chin augmentation for a recessed chin
- Breast asymmetry correction with saline breast implants
- Female breast reduction for excessively large breasts
- Male breast reduction for gynecomastia (male breasts)
- Acne laser treatment
- Dermabrasion for scars and acne
When consulting with a teenager considering plastic surgery, plastic surgeons need to determine several key issues. The plastic surgeon needs to discover why the teenage patient is seeking cosmetic surgery. It is critical to determine whether a teenager is having the procedure for him/herself or having the procedure to meet the expectations of others. Also, the plastic surgeon needs to determine why the teenager feels the “need” to have an elective procedure.
Before elective cosmetic plastic surgery, teenagers should consider the following:
- The teenage plastic surgery patient must be the one who first requests the plastic surgery procedure, rather than a parent or guardian
- The teenage plastic surgery patient must have reasonable and rational expectations. Ideal, teenage plastic surgery patients must be mentally stable without significant mood swings or erratic behaviors
- The teenage plastic surgery patient must be mature in their ability to handle post-operative pain
- If under 18, the teenage patient must have their parent or legal guardian sign the informed consent.This means that all details of the plastic surgery procedures are understood and agreed upon by both the teenage patient and the teenage patient’s parents or guardian
If you are a teenager considering plastic surgery, these are several things to consider before moving forward with elective, cosmetic procedure.
- Plastic surgery will not correct all your problems
- Plastic surgery will not make you a different person
- Plastic surgery will not automatically make you “popular” in school
- Plastic surgery may gain you some friends, but you may also lose some friends
Before you undergo elective, cosmetic plastic surgery, do your research. Become informed as much as possible about your chosen procedure. If you are a teenager, discuss your concerns with your parents/guardian first. Then, together with your parents/guardian select an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon. During your plastic surgery consultation, ask a lot of questions.
If you would like to receive a private, non-pressured plastic surgery consultation, please call Dr. Katzen at (310) 859-7770 today. Consultation for teenagers seeking plastic surgery is complimentary.